Iran takes aim at US & UK over Beijing boycott

The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry has vowed “solidarity” with China and accused the US of leading a “smear campaign” after the White House confirmed a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

“Whether it’s ‘diplomatic boycott’ of #Beijing22, or depriving Iranian teams from accessing financial resources, everyone should denounce politicization of sport,” tweeted Iranian Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh on Thursday.

“Looking forward to participation in the event, we express solidarity with China that is targeted by smear campaign.”

Khatibzadeh shared an image of a tweet from US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which she “applauded” Joe Biden’s decision not to send US diplomats to the Games in Beijing, which get under way in February.

READ MORE: Washington’s Beijing Olympics boycott will not go unanswered

Khatibzadeh also shared a Sky News article on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to follow suit and boycott the Games. Canada also announced this week that it would do the same.

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Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will be carrying out a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics © Blair Gable / Reuters
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China has dismissed the boycotts as a “farce”, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin saying: “Sports has nothing to do with politics. It is they who have written, directed and performed this farce.

“As of now, numerous heads of state, leaders of government and royal family members have registered to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, and we welcome them.

“China is committed to making greater contributions to the international Olympic cause and will offer up a streamlined, safe and exciting Olympics to the world.”

The boycotts are ostensibly over China’s human rights record, although some – including figures in Russia – have accused the US and its allies of pursuing a political agenda against China.  

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